Archive for August, 2010

Why Doesn’t Your Web Site Hold Anyone’s Attention?

Your web site is awful and nobody (but you) cares about it.
You have a site on the web, but it isn’t helping you.  Your web site is probably something that, at one time, you poured a lot of money and time into.  You hired who you thought was a responsible designer (don’t worry, I did, too) and what you got was full of great copy, some flashy bells and whistles and a huge bill.  So you sat back and waited for the business to pour back in…and waited, and waited, and waited.

But it never came in, did it?

Why?  Why isn’t anyone reading your copy?  Why aren’t they impressed by your bells and whistles graphics and sounds?  Why don’t they buy you?

Simple: Your web site is awful and nobody (but you) cares about it.  That’s harsh, but true.

 If your internet presence isn’t drawing people to you, it’s because nobody cares.  They aren’t reading your “superb” copy.  They aren’t impressed with your “WOW” graphics, flashes and sound bites. They just don’t care for your sales pitch.

“But I spent all that money!” you say.  Sorry.  Somebody saw you coming with stars in your eyes and money in your pocket.  They wanted your money and showed you more stars.  They designed something that you, and only you care about.

Why don’t people like what you paid for?

Again, simple.  In fact you already know the answer.  It’s as simple as looking at what you look for in other web sites.

First, are most people on the internet readers or scanners?   They are readers.   They stop by web sites for a few seconds and if nothing appeals to them; if it takes forever to load up all the whiz-bang graphics; if they have to scroll down to read your copy, they just move on. Is your home page designed for readers or scanners?  You knew this when you started out. You scanned other web sites (or at least we hope you did) to see what you liked best.  The ones you stopped at, you copied. Bingo! They hooked you as you scanned.

Having said that, scanners aren’t impressed by bells and whistles.  The people you are targeting want a service, their problems solved, their questions answered.  They don’t want a cartoon show.  They don’t want fluff instead of substance.  They don’t want “More Info” (don’t get me started on that one).

Is it optimized for search engines to find?  Search Engine Optimization (SEO) drives business to you or keeps it away. ‘Nuff said.

Finally, your web site is awful because it is probably designed to appeal to you, NOT the people you are targeting.  You like it and that is all that matters to you.  Or worse, other people in your industry who compete with you  like it.  You looked as the sites of companies who do what you do and you copied them.  So now you are fighting for the same customer and scanner/reader base they are working with.  Lame… and dishonest.

What can you do to start fixing it?  Find out what the people you want to come to your site want and give that to them.  Be current.  My site  talks about the economy, because like it or not, it is still front page news.  It makes my message on the site current – not something I wrote in 2008 or 2009.  It looks like I am living in 2010 (and looking at 2011) – not  two years ago. 

Understand that I am still figuring it out.  I tweak, alter, play with and overhaul the site all the time, but I have the satisfaction of knowing that it appeals to the people I am targeting, not other people who do the same thing I do.  I spend time getting closer to my customers, not my competition (but that’s an article for another day).

Good luck and let me know what you are doing that makes you unique and different on the web.

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Does Your Staff Need Your Permission to Make You Look Good?

How many customers would be loyal to you, if your employees didn’t have to get your permission to make them happy?  If they do, you are sabotaging yourself and your company.  People are ineffective because they have to sit around a wait to make decisions they already know how to make…but can’t.

Battles have been lost because generals couldn’t get permission to attack.  Championships are lost because superstars couldn’t conduct their best plays that inept or jealous coaches wouldn’t allow them to make.  Potential leaders are lost because  managers are too absorbed in their kingdom building to allow them to lead.  Sales have been lost because a sales manager couldn’t be reached to approve the deal.  Customers are lost every day because your people have to get your permission to serve your own customers.

You want to re-think  and reinvent your management style, but don’t know how.  Are you sabotaging yourself?

What Isn’t Getting Done?

The best way to thrive in a recessed, depressed, held up economy is to do something that isn’t being done. It is not only the best way to keep your job, it is the best way to keep your customers. And get more.

What made Starbuck’s famous in the first place?  They blended different coffees and THEN provided a unique atmosphere that people couldn’t do without.  No one else was doing that.  What made Star Wars famous in the first place?  They combined outer space drama with a heart-warming story about a boy becoming a man (trying to save his father, finding his sister, helping his friends, and kicking interstellar butt).  No one else was doing that.  What made Wikipedia famous in the first place?  It became the go-to destination for facts, replacing the time-honored, well-worn and monotonous (Encyclopedia Brittanica, World Book and Funk and Wagnalls) and allowed anyone to contribute.  No one else was doing that, either.

But in each case, the proactive response to the question: “What isn’t getting done?” was responded to with a solution.  Sometimes the solution was in the form of an idea, a combination of two successes, or a service, or a delivery system that didn’t exist before.

In your life are many people who want something done that isn’t getting done.  Most of the time you choose to ignore them or (worse) join in the chorus of complaints.  History remembers those who quit complaining and went out and did something about it.  Your boss will remember the person who quit complaining and did something about it.  Most employees of the month don’t get the award for following the rules and doing nothing else. They go out and do what isn’t getting done.

Your customers will remember the company that solved their problem that no one else would touch.

If the trash can keeps overflowing, only a cog in a huge machine keeps emptying it.  The lone wolf who buys another trash can is the one everybody remembers for doing what wasn’t getting done.

The only way you, your service or your company will ever be remarkable (or survive for that matter) is by doing what isn’t getting done.

And the more out of the ordinary for yourself, your service or your company is, the more you will be rewarded.  Just ask Picasso if painting the same reality was his goal.  Ask Steve Jobs if just building identical computers (cell phones, electronic musical devices, tablet computers, etc.) was his goal?  Ask Bryan Lee O’Malley, the creator of Scott Pilgrim if he set out to do the same thing every other comic book writer was creating.

I think not.

What isn’t getting done is what will make you stand out.  What isn’t getting done will get rewarded (when you do it).  What isn’t getting done is your destiny.  You were put on this earth to do What Isn’t Getting Done

It’s your real job.

Reinvent Your Lame Voice Mail

It’s amazing that we live in a technological age and we haven’t mastered voice mail.  I use the phone extensively in my business and I hear some really poor excuses for voice mail.  Most of the outgoing messages go something like: “This is X. I am not in now, but please wait for the beep and leave your message and I will return your call as soon as I can.”

Lame. Very lame.

Also very ignorant; bordering on stupid.  Why?  First, we know you’re not in…we got your voice mail!

Second: It’s 2010 already; everyone knows what to do after the beep.  Because in 2010 almost everyone has voice mail and has a beep.  This was semi-effective when only three people in your town had an answering machine and TWO of them didn’t know how to wait for the beep.

Third: If you want to stand out, then create an outstanding message.  Be creative – No I don’t mean those ridiculous unprofessional song messages, but use your voice mail to tell your customers what you do and what you WILL do for them.  Look, they are stuck listening to you, so they might as well learn something beneficial!

I tell people what I do that benefits them in a short sentence and that I will do it for them if they leave a message for me.

Think benefits to the person calling you; NOT your features.

When I am presenting to an audience, I my voice mail tells callers I am helping someone go from being down to being different; but if they leave a message, I will be glad to help them discover their difference NEXT.  

Here’s a thought for salespeople – use your voice mail message to sell to potential clients when you aren’t in. Keep it short and to the point. Pithy sells; paragraphs bore.

Want to Reinvent Your Voice Mail?  Here are some more tips to get your communication techniques into the 21st Century.

Like this?  Tweet me: @jimmathis.

Bite Me!

In marketing you can’t give the store away all at once. People won’t respect or buy from you if you do. You have to give a nibble, or a bite.  Vic Osteen says:  “In marketing you need to first give just a taste, then a snack, then a meal.”  

He’s right, you have to introduce people to a nibble, a bite or a taste.  Then once they have your flavor on their mind, move them to the next stage.  This works in selling, dating, interviewing and at the mall for Hickory Farms.

For instance, let’s look at web site design.  Are people who visit your web site there to read your copy?

I’m sorry, but NO.

Most people on the internet are scanners, not readers.  So treat them as such:

  • Taste:  Give everyone a taste of what you do (Interest Stage).  Let them sample you.  Tease them with benfits you bring to the table.  Put beneficial information on your web site for scanners.  No one is reading all your copy anyway. Put benefits on the back of your business card (if you still use one). 
  • Snack:  Give the ones who like the taste a snack (Connection Stage).  Use your skills to draw them to a page that gives the information they are seeking.  Use your presentation to deliver what customers and prospects want.  Get paid, but show what else they can get from you. Offer products and services in bundles so. Get them on your mailing list as avid followers.
  • Meal: Give the ones who love the snack a meal (Engagement Stage).  Get your customers to come back for more, call you about continued services.  Sign them up for your content, services or programs.  Bring them back to you repeatedly for more and more.  Consult, coach, mentor, train and engage customers fully.

Blog with titles that draw attention (Taste).  Provide information that customers and prospects can use in their daily lives and businesses (Snack).  Make your followers loyal, devoted fans who come to you and only you for solutions and resources.

Put the world on a steady diet of YOU.

It starts with a bite!

What George Steinbrenner and Dan Gilbert Teach Us About Superstars

Superstars won’t stay, unless you respect them as much as they want.

George was known for hiring and firing. “The Boss” secured (and paid) the likes of Ricky Henderson, Don Mattingly, Catfish Huner, Thurman Munson, Roger Clemens, Derek Jeter, Dave Winfield, Willie Randolph and the list goes on. He knew how to keep most of them. Pay them, respect them and give them the freedom to excel. He didn’t treat them the same way he treated John Pacella, Homer Bush or John Habyand John Habyan. Why?

He knew the difference between a superstar and the average “team player.”

  • Supertars can’t carry the whole team. Michael Jordan couldn’t succeed without Scottie Pippen, John Paxson and B.J. Armstrong.  Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s home run record playing for the Atlanta Braves – who never went to a World Series while he was on the team.  George built dynasties, not teams.
  • Superstars need extra incentives consummate with their talents and skills. See Brett Favre’s salary in any season (Brett was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons, whose coach couldn’t handle a superstar with a bigger image than his own. The Falcons traded Favre to Green Bay after one season). George knew this and opened his wallet. So does Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys. George paid his stars according to their talents that they knew they brought to the table.
  • Superstars want to be associated with a winning organization.  John Elway refused to sign with the Indianapolis Colts when he was drafted and held out to play for the Denver Broncos, who had a winning attitude. George’s dynasties were sought out by the best players.
  • Superstars know the rich will get richer.  They know the boss may be eccentric, but he will do everything he can to produce a winner. Look at what John Henry, principal owner of the Red Sox has done to build a winning team in Bean Town. George, while known for firing, was known for hiring and winning.
  • Superstars leave for better run organizations. LeBron James most recently. Dan Gilbert owns an NBA franchise. It is a small club of people who can succeed to this level. But after seven seasons, LeBron wants to go to an environment where winning is not a priority – it is THE priority.  Dan can’t handle a superstar. Most leaders can’t either. George rarely lost a superstar he really wanted to keep.

Most leaders don’t know how to deal with someone with talents beyond their own. George knew how to treat the cream of the crop. Most of them stayed with him for many seasons and rewarded he and the Yankee fans with titles. How many titles have the Cavaliers won with LeBron?

How you handle your superstars and build around them determines how successful you will be. Are you sabotaging yourself?


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